How to Install a Rod Bearing

When rebuilding engines, you will most likely have to replace the rod bearing connected to it. Rod bearings are essential to a motor’s performance, for it is where the wrist pin of the piston and the crankshaft are rested. Replacing the bearings of an engine is relatively easy and there are lots of tips you can get to make the process more hassle-free.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • New bearings
  • Socket set and ratchet
  • Connecting rods
  • C-clip pliers
  • Lint-free rag
  • Rubber mallet or small hammer 
  • Degreaser or mineral spirits

Step 1 – Remove the Crankshaft and Pistons from the Connecting Rods

Detach the crankshaft and pistons from the connecting rods. Then, using a ratchet and an appropriately-sized socket, remove the rod and end cap that are attached to the larger end of the crank by two rod bolts. On the smaller end of the crank you will see that a wrist pin fastens the rod to the piston. The wrist pin is inserted through the hole in the rod’s smaller end and at one of the sides of the piston, held in place by two C-clips. Remove the C-clips using C-clip pliers.

Step 2 – Loosen and Remove the Old Bearings from the Rod

Loosen the old bearings connected to the rod by tapping them lightly with a hammer. Tapping will make them slide out of the rod. To effectively release them, tap the hammer on the top edge portion of the bearings instead of on the sides.

Step 3 – Clean the Rod Carefully

Free the rod and the new bearings from any dust and dirt. Mineral spirits or degreaser is often used in the cleaning process. These solutions can remove all types of debris and dirt from the rod and bearing surface. 

Step 4 – Attach the Bearings to the Rod

Find the larger end of the rod and slide one bearing through it. Find the end cap and slide another bearing into it. Make sure that the bearing will fit snugly into the curved part of the rod. Usually, the bearing has a notch that coincides with one of the rod’s notches. These two notches should not be on the same side and should be located opposite each other.

Step 5 – Press out the Bearing at the Small End of the Rod

Locate the round bearing situated at the smaller end of the rod. Press this bearing with a press or tap it out gently with the right kind of socket. Make sure that the socket is small enough to pass through the end of the rod, but big enough to go over the new bearing.

Step 6 – Install the New Bearing

Tap or press the new bearing in place, making sure that no scratches or marks are created on the surface.

The steps above are basic guidelines in installing a rod bearing. Installation may differ on each type of bearing, however, so it may be advisable to refer to your workshop manual if there is one available. Hiring a professional to do the rod bearing installation is also a wise choice, but be ready to set aside an appropriate budget for the task.